'It was a special innings' - Symonds
Ricky Ponting, the Australian captain, said Andrew Symonds' innings was the defining moment of the match
Ricky Ponting: "[Andrew] Symonds played a really sensible innings. I think his innings was the defining moment. He has been confident and has been a changed player from what he was five-six years ago"
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The Australians will no doubt celebrate their series win in typically exuberant fashion, and the man leading the way will be Andrew Symonds. His scores in the last four matches have been 87, 89, 75, and, on Sunday a 107 not out in Nagpur. Ricky Ponting was understandably overjoyed with Symonds' contribution but spoke about the contribution of others in the team at the post-match press conference.
"This series has been a good contest and today was really good one. We got the wickets when we needed them. The game can change very quickly in this part of the world," said Ponting. "Today we kept partnerships going and Symonds played a really sensible innings. I think his innings was the defining moment. He has been confident and has been a changed player from what he was five-six years ago."
"But we had a number of meaningful contributions, it wasn't just Symonds," said Ponting. "[Brad] Hogg picked up four wickets and Mitchell [Johnson] and Brett [Lee] bowled really well too."
Symonds, for his part, said that the fall of wickets at the other end motivated him to stay focused and play cautiously. "If you look at our innings, wickets fell at times when ideally we didn't want them to fall, and this meant I had to knuckle down a bit and help build a big total. It was a special innings and I really feel proud about it."
Ponting also felt the total of 317 was a good one, given the conditions, but with a fast outfield and a good batting pitch India were always in with a chance. "In the break I told my spinners that they'd have to bowl really well and they did that," said Ponting. "That made the difference as we pulled back the runs in the middle overs."
After India's strong first-wicket partnership of 140, their best of the series so far, Irfan Pathan was sent out to bat at No. 3, and this surprised quite a few people, including Ponting. "Sending Pathan at No. 3 was a bit surprising. The way we look at it is that we always want our best batsmen at the top of the order."
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, for his part, said that it was extremely difficult for batsmen who were new at the crease to score quickly after set batsmen had been dismissed. "We lost couple of wickets at the wrong time. Sachin [Tendulkar] and Sourav [Ganguly] got out at a time when we would have liked them to go on and we never got any partnerships after it," he said. "The asking rate was always high and it is difficult for a batsman who has just come in to score at that rate."
Dhoni also conceded that India had struggled to get their game all together in the course of the series. "I think we never performed well in all three aspects of the game - batting, bowling and fielding - in one game. The only time we did well was in Chandigarh, when we did well in all aspects, and the result was in our favour."
Anand Vasu is an associate editor on Cricinfo